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Hellboy /

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Ron Perlman, David Hyde Pierce, Doug Jones, Karel Roden, Victoria Smurfit

Directed by: Guillermo Del Toro

Produced by: Mike Richardson, Lloyd Levin, Lawrence Gordon
Written by:
Guillermo Del Toro, Mike Mignola
Distributor: Revolution Studios


Movie Image
Movie Image
Movie Image

     When thinking of Hellboy, I picture The Hulk on a smaller dosage of steroids. Sure, this has a literal meaning; the two characters have their physical differences. The Hulk is a gigantic, green monster, while Hellboy is just a tad bigger than the average human, bearing half-devil/half-man traits. But such a statement applies to the two movies, in general, as well. Ang Lee, director of The Hulk, bursts with energy and style in every frame of his picture, while Guillermo Del Toro, the man behind Hellboy, is only creative in spurts. Del Toro has a visionómake no mistakeóbut he also has somewhat of a profound trouble showing it. Hence, what the audience receives a half-assed film, only slightly better than the average comic-book adaptation.


     Surprisingly, Del Toro is to blame for most all of the failures of Hellboy, even though he certainly knows what heís doing. The script, which he co-wrote with Mike Mignola, is just about as confusing as that of Mullholland Drive, if not more. Okay, so Iím exaggerating. But when viewing this movie, the comparison almost seems fair. Mignola and Del Toro go out of their ways to make the script identical to the source material, often adding unnecessary and blatant sequences that, essentially, do not make sense. I would not normally be bothered by stupidity in a film of this nature, but Hellboy boasts with the same potential that great action films do. When itís too dopey, it is an almost painful viewing experience.


     Story goes: in last attempts to win the war, the Nazis attempt to awaken the Seven Gods of Chaos through a dark portal, but are stopped by Professor Bruttenholm (John Hurt), who is employed by U.S. President Roosevelt. In doing this, all that the Nazis are brought by their actions is Hellboy, a young demon-like child, who resembles Satan. In the process of this, Grigori Rasputin (Karl Roden) is sucked through the portal.


     Flash forward in time now. Hellboy is working for the FBI, with many other captured creatures, working to defeat monsters that only they have the power to. Heís sent on a mission to kill a monster, who looks a lot like one of the super-powered critters in Del Toroís Blade II. This monster continues to lay eggs as Hellboy is hot on its tail, which the FBI must capture and exterminate. Throw in two of our heroís old enemies and Selma Blair as his romance, and the entire plot is covered for. Or, at least, most of it.


      The whole movie is carried by lead actor Ron Perlman, as Hellboy. This is actually kind of miraculous, considering heís playing a character that relies on hours of makeup and loads of special effects to enhance him. Perlman has a relaxed feel in the role, puffing his cigar and running around after paranormal creatures like a crazy fool. He makes the movie the fun romp that it is; without him, the story would seem far too lame for its own good. However, Perlmanís work is only one piece of the puzzle; the rest are scattered on the playroom floor and out of place. While he is able to save the movie from being a waste, Hellboy is certainly lacking the magical punch it needs.


     There are most definitely better movies in release right now, but for the teenage set, I donít think that one could find anything better than Hellboy. The ingenious portions of it actually outweigh the bland ones; somewhere in its heart is a fantastic and fulfilling motion picture. But I suppose the true comic-book franchises (Hulk, Spiderman, Superman) will always remain the most pure. If there is a sequel made to Hellboy, I have an extreme doubt that it will serve as a rewarding experience. Thereís always a chance that it will be decent though, and I guess, in the mean time, Iíll just have to live with this.

-Danny, Bucket Reviews (4.9.2004)

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